My anger has stopped me writing, but it has not stopped me from thinking, as many of us have, about the estimated 41% of white women who voted for Donald Trump.
Not because those women are so different from me.
The truth is that they are me. And I suspect if we were honest, we would all admit that we belong to that 41% at least some of the time.
No, I didn’t vote for Trump. I abhor his policies while also reminding myself that these first ten days are mostly theatre. We allowed ourselves to be jangled by executive orders, clearly illegal in light of our Constitution, which will be rolled back because of public outcry and demonstrations or canceled by Congress—eventually. In the meantime the chaos and fear they sow damage each one of us and our country.
I am part of the 41% because of what I didn’t do before this election and what I didn’t call myself.
I saw this coming, particularly in the kinds of jokes I treated as routine. They were, and are, increasing. Violent and vulgar language has become everyday language, both written and spoken, and I have done nothing to combat it. In fact, I’ve laughed at the jokes.
One joker defined the President’s vow to create “jobs, job, jobs” as hand jobs, boob jobs—and I can’t remember the third.
Not really. But I laughed every time I heard it.I am part of the 41% because I have spoiled and coddled grown men who have evaded their responsibilities to the women and children who depend on them, and to the world.
I’ve developed so much empathy for male weakness it weighs me down like a tire iron.
He’s addicted, or was.
He was abused as a child.
He never learned anything about women because all of us who spoiled and coddled him never insisted on teaching him anything (which is why a large number of women never have an orgasm with a man. Among many other things.)
I’ve lied and flattered and laughed, just like the women who voted for Trump who said things like “It’s just locker room talk,” or “Boys will be boys,” reassuring ourselves with secret condescension. Because after all, we are so much smarter, so much nicer, and the proof is that we always forgive.
I am horrified when I read that a woman has allowed her boyfriend to abuse her child, even to the point of murder.
But I have stood frozen in my kitchen while my 200-pound then-husband beat my two small sons because they had “sassed” him.
I tried to leave. I went back after a few hours because I was ashamed to go to a shelter. And I accepted his apologies.
Eventually, I left him.
But by then terrible harm had been done. But he was tall and handsome and physically strong and completely self-confident and the only man who has ever asked me to sit on his lap. And he was a violent alcoholic with a history of abusing women.
How do I, how do we, deal with our secret attraction to these bad boys?
Why do we find them amusing, and even sexy?
Do we have to agree with two lines in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy”:
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face…
The boot is in our faces now, no matter what the eventual result of the president’s legally-dubious executive orders may be.
We elected him. We can’t comfort ourselves with signs that say, “Not My President.”
He is our president because we didn’t protest—we laughed and excused and found the boy-man sort of charming.
He is our president because we never called ourselves feminists.
[For more, please read, How to Build an Autocracy from David Frum in The Atlantic and There’s Something Happening Here, and It Is Terrifyingly Clear by Paul Gibson.]